A new litter of puppies in the house is a very exciting time, but it is also one that is fraught with worry and filled with questions. You need to provide the care and attention that your puppies need but even if this isn’t your first litter, you will undoubtedly have questions about their development. For the first couple of weeks, at least, a puppy is highly dependent on its mum. Young pups only open their eyes after about ten days. They can stand after two or three weeks and make their first attempts at walking by the time they reach four weeks old.
Puppy Development – Week One
When a puppy is born, it is entirely dependent on its mum, for everything. Its eyes and ears are closed, it can’t stand, and it even needs mum to stimulate weeing and pooing. During this stage, the puppy will just sleep, waking only to suckle on mum.
Puppy Development – Week Two
By two weeks, the puppy will still be dependent on mum for everything. However, by the end of the week, some puppies will start to open their eyes and their ears will follow shortly after. It can be overwhelming for the puppy when they are first presented with sights and sounds that they haven’t experienced before.
Puppy Development – Week Three
Although it might happen sooner, it is more likely that a puppy will first stand up at the three-week stage. Before this, the dog will not have been able to hold its own weight up and would have moved around by dragging its belly on the floor. Your puppy will soon learn to stand and sit down and it may start taking its first few tentative, wobbly steps.
Expect a puppy of this age to start teething. Puppies have puppy teeth that are thinner and sharper than their adult teeth. They are not as strong but they are very important.
Puppy Development – Week Four
Week four is when puppies really start to develop into individual dogs. They will look like a young version of their older self, rather than being identical to their littermates and almost indistinguishable from one another. This is the stage when they are not only walking around but playing with their brothers and sisters. You may hear some attempts at growling between puppies. This isn’t aggressive growling and the youngsters are just developing their skills in a safe environment.
By the end of week four, your puppy will have developed a lot thanks to the time it spends with its siblings and pushing boundaries with mum. Not only will a four-week-old puppy be walking, but it will start running and even wagging its tail.
Other areas of development include feeding. Four to five-week old puppies will try some solid food, although it can take some getting used to. They will seek out some privacy when pooping, moving away from the rest of the litter to do so, and their mums will take this as an indication that they are no longer needed to clean up the mess afterward – cue the breeder’s involvement.
Once your puppy reaches five weeks old, it is still far from fully developed, but it is entering a different stage of puppyhood. It should be perfectly capable of walking, able to run, albeit with the occasional stumble, and it will be developing a good feeding and defecating routine. It should be socializing, a little, with humans and potentially even some other animals from outside its own family.
At What Age Can Puppies Start Drinking Water?
At around the same time your puppy starts walking, you can offer a shallow bowl of water to drink from. Be prepared for the fact that the puppy may not be able to differentiate between drinking water and playing water, though, and be ready to change the water out for fresh regularly. Dogs usually take easily to drinking water from a bowl, and puppies learn this kind of action from their mums.
At What Age Can Puppies Eat Dry Food?
Puppies begin to eat solid food at about four weeks, although it will be quite a gradual process in the beginning. It is best to initially soak some puppy food in a milk replacer to make a slightly thick slurry. By five weeks, the puppy will probably not be feeding from mum anymore and will enjoy tucking into its puppy meals.
When Should Puppies Leave Mum?
Though puppies gradually wean off their mum’s milk when they are about 5 weeks old, it’s best to bring them to a new home at eight weeks. By this time, the puppy will have learned a greater range of skills from mum and littermates and will have more independence. It should also have been dewormed and started vaccinations. Its immune system should be well developed. This all means that a puppy that leaves its mum at 8-9 weeks is likely to grow into a well-adjusted and healthier dog than if it left at 4-5 weeks.
- You may also want to know: When Can Puppies Drink Water? What You Need To Know!
Puppies develop quickly, especially once they reach about two weeks of age. For the first two weeks of their life, they are entirely dependent on mum for everything but by two weeks they will be opening their eyes and ears, and rolling around a little. By four weeks, your puppy should be standing, sitting, and walking: running around a week later.
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